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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ben Husband

Cristiano Ronaldo takes penalty off Al-Nassr teammate after showing true colours

Cristiano Ronaldo left it late, but he is finally off the mark for Al-Nassr after his injury-time penalty earned his side a draw.

The 37-year-old lined up for his new team for the third time on Friday as they looked to bounce back from the defeat they suffered last time out. Ronaldo had arrived in Saudi Arabia with the expectation he would dominate a significantly weaker league.

But after drawing blanks against both Ettifaq and Al-Ittihad, there was some extra pressure for the clash with Al-Fateh. And that extra scrutiny looked to be weighing on the veteran striker, who for the first time since his move, showed real frustration on the pitch.

Ronaldo was constantly criticised for his body language during his time with Manchester United, often making his grievances very public. But since leaving Old Trafford and the glare of European football, the Portuguese has looked a much calmer individual.

Despite the relative drop in talent, Ronaldo has appeared much more patient with team-mates, opting to encourage rather than criticise mistakes. However, he cut a different figure during a frustrating 45 minutes which saw him spurn a host of chances.

Al-Nassr fell behind against the run of play when Cristian Tello capitalised on a goalkeeper error to find the bottom corner. Ronaldo then thought he had equalised, only for the assistant to correctly rule out his cool finish for offside.

Minutes later, he conspired to fire over with the goal at his mercy after an Anderson Talisca shot hit the post and fell at his feet. The ex-United star was becoming noticeably annoyed as the half went on and started to throw his arms up in the air every time he was overlooked for a pass.

Ronaldo missed a first-half sitter when Anderson Talisca's shot rebounded to him (Sky Sports)

That anger was perhaps most directed at himself, with the legendary goalscorer missing another chance before the break when his effort crashed off the bar and out for a goal kick.

Talisca spared his blushes in the first half by scoring a clinical equaliser and emphasising the fact that Al-Nassr have two superstar forwards in their squad. But both could only look on after the break, when Al-Fateh regained their lead with a brilliant effort from distance.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first Al-Nassr goal against Al-Fateh (Sky Sports)

It looked destined to stay that way until the visitors were awarded a penalty in the first of seven minutes of injury time. Talisca, the Saudi Pro League’s top scorer, quickly grabbed the ball as the referee waved away protests.

Ronaldo looked as if he had conceded penalty duties to his Brazilian team-mate, standing a few yards outside the area. However, as Talisca prepared to put the ball down he had it taken off him, with Ronaldo instead going through his routine.

He would make no mistake from the spot, firing down the middle to score his first competitive goal for the club in what was an entertaining 2-2 draw. Ronaldo would have likely retained penalty-taking responsibilities regardless, but that was then rubber stamped in the 97th minute.

With the seconds ticking down and both sides seemingly content to settle for a draw, Talisca put in an ugly looking tackle which earned him a caution. That was then upgraded to a red upon a VAR intervention, with the ex-Porto star now set to miss the next three games.

The result means Rudi Garcia’s side stay at the top of the table, level on points with Al-Shabab having played one game fewer. Al-Nassr next play in six days when they face Al-Wehda.

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